The Philadelphia Flyers are known for their rough style of play. Their Broad Street Bullies label continues to be well earned, even today. In their previous five seasons, they finished in the top two in total penalty minutes four times.
Craig Berube was no stranger to the sin bin as a player, but the new Flyers head coach feels that it’s time for this franchise to change.
Philadelphia suffered a 5-2 defeat to Detroit last night with the Red Wings’ first three goals coming on the power play. That’s dropped the Flyers to 1-5-0 this season after they’ve accumulated 118 penalty minutes in just six contests.
“We have to stop taking penalties,” Berube said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi. “It’s been an issue in this organization for too long. It’s got to get better.”
There isn’t a player that you can point to as the sole source of the problem in Philadelphia. They have eight guys with at least six penalty minutes through six games. To put that into context, Jonathan Ericsson leads the Red Wings with six penalty minutes.
This isn’t a matter of the Flyers’ eagerness to drop the gloves either. They are in the middle of the pack in that regard with four fights, according to Hockey Fights.
At the same time, the Flyers have collected 39 minors while the next highest team has 26. That’s put them in a tie for the most power-play goals allowed despite their middle-of-the-road 78.8% penalty kill.
Their problems can’t be exclusively blamed on this one issue though. After all, Philadelphia hasn’t scored more than two goals in a single contest this season. Getting out of this rut will require improvement in a number of different areas, but it looks like Berube wants to see change in one that has been identified with the Flyers for a very long time.
Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.
Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.
McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).
The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.
They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.
Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.
The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.
The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.